With Riverdale’s season finale airing tonight, we have a LOT of questions that still need to be answered — some of them stemming from last week’s episode, “The Dark Secret of Harvest House.” Here, we parse through the penultimate episode and make our final predictions about Season 3. Join us, won’t you? *cue cult chanting*
Kelli: As usual, the most boring part of this episode involves Archie and Veronica. I felt like this episode in particular highlighted the gaping disparity between the relevance of these plots — Betty and Jughead are working on figuring out the two huge mysteries of the season while Veronica and Archie are still stuck on Hiram Lodge.
Basically, Veronica finds out that not only has Hiram been lying to her about her ownership of the Speakeasy and Pop’s — he’s also planning on privatizing Riverdale. I kind of enjoyed the stupid simplicity of this. Hiram is an evil rich man, and he’s going to do the most basic thing that an evil rich character on a show about a small town can do: BUY THE TOWN! When Veronica, seemingly shocked, tells Archie and his mom about her dad’s plans, Archie goes, “Yeah, Ronnie… your dad sucks.” This was hilarious, and Archie’s only redeeming moment of the season.
Molly Ringwald (her name is Mary on the show but they never say it and honestly, she’s just Molly Ringwald) apparently has a friend who works for the FBI, so the four of them have a sit-down to discuss their options for taking down Hiram Lodge. He is somehow TOO POWERFUL to be taken down by charges of embezzlement, so they need to catch him red-handed to really be able to put him away. Is this how law works? Just wondering.
Mary: I thought the same thing about the two halves of the show. Archie and Veronica seem to be living in a completely different world. Also, the general state of Riverdale is confusing to me. Is it still under quarantine? Can you just BUY a town?! I feel like all too often I ask a ton of questions in these recaps, but please be assured that it’s mostly just me waving my hands around going W H A T?!
I don’t love that Molly Ringwald has been brought in as a stand-in for Luke Perry. We still haven’t gotten an explanation for where Fred went or when he might be back (in the world of the show, RIP, Luke), and frankly, I’m getting antsy about it. Mary isn’t a great parent, IMO, even though the show seems to paint her as one. Yes, she still is buddy-buddy with Fred, but she hasn’t really been there for Archie during some of his most developmental years. Maybe this is just me reading my own parent-issues onto it, though.
Also, yeah, no the law does not work this way at all.
Gabriella: Yeah there were a lot of questions that had no logical answers. And I still feel like Luke Perry’s absence has not been explained in any emotionally satisfying way which makes every time they mention him just feel weird.
Archie did get the best one liner of the show, though.
Kelli: Veronica, realizing that all of the illegal activity happening at the Speakeasy is technically under Hiram’s jurisdiction, concocts a scheme to take him down. I’m pretty sure this is the first time they actually acknowledged that nearly the entire business is unlawful, so I appreciated that, at least.
What did you guys think of Veronica’s plan?
Mary: I mean, it’s a plan. I don’t think it’s particularly sound, though. Just because Hiram technically owns the businesses doesn’t mean that he would necessarily take the fall for illegal activity. Think about all the big businesses that get caught up in scandal, only to have the CEOs get away with it and pin it all on some lower level employee. Hiram will find a way to pin it on Veronica, or worse, Reggie.
Gabriella: Yeah I don’t know that the show is too worried about how realistic it is (lol) but instead will use it as a way of (hopefully) wrapping up the evil Hiram plot line. Which can only be a good thing because at this point the whole thing is tired — no one has any reason to trust him, so unless he turns into the BH version 3, his role in the show is done.
Kelli: Well, however we feel about it, in the world of Riverdale her plan obviously works. Hiram takes the bait, agreeing to an illegal underground boxing match with Archie and also helping to orchestrate the betting through La Bonne Nuit. There’s about five seconds where we’re supposed to be ‘worried’ because suddenly people are betting that Hiram is going to kill Archie in the ring, which was a really stupid last-minute grab for tension which completely fails because we all know Archie isn’t going to die.
Here are some questions I have: 1. Was Reggie really necessary for this to succeed? 2. Was Archie really necessary either? Couldn’t Veronica have just conned Hiram into finding people to bet on some other big fight? 3. If part of Hiram’s charges are that he was fighting in an illegal underground boxing match, wouldn’t that implicate Archie as well? 4. Is it even legal for this show to butcher a Beyoncé song so thoroughly?
Mary: I don’t know that Reggie was vital, but it was a good set up for Veronica and Reggie to get back together. They’ve been through a good bit of ups and downs with La Bonne Nuit, and Archie was completely absent for all of that. Veronica and Reggie went through a lot together!
Yeah, no. Archie was necessary because the show needed him to be involved, but it doesn’t seem like Hiram HAD to be beating Archie up. That being said, I think it looks awful for Hiram to be found not only betting on an illegal match, but participating in it. And also, he’s not just participating in it—he’s beating up a minor. That’s got to be several shades of illegal. Also, sure, I think Archie might be implicated, too. But I think they were actually arresting Hiram for all the embezzlement? IDK. This plot made little sense to me.
Gabriella: No and no are the answers I think. I’m also so sick of these extended boxing matches. Boxing matches are boring IRL, the only time they are exciting is during the film Creed, so let’s just stop with that now. Like you said, Kelli, we all know Archie isn’t going to die so what is the point.
Also, I feel like they put Reggie back here because people were probably like ‘wait, where did Reggie go?’ — he was off making a movie! (I don’t know if this is true but he is in a movie right now called The Sun is Also a Star based on a novel of the same name.)
Kelli: At the end of the episode, with a little push from his mom, Archie decides to talk to Veronica about the status of their relationship. Unfortunately, when he shows up — *GASP* — Reggie is there! Reggie already showed up to tell Veronica that he wants to be with her for real, and Veronica said yes. When Archie asks Veronica if that’s true, she looks between them and goes, “Yes, that is what I said.” Luckily, Reggie is too stupid to realize the hidden code behind those words: “I said yes to Reggie because I had no idea you were coming here, but if I had known I would obviously choose you because you’re the main character and Reggie’s just my side-hoe.” Unfortunately, Archie is also too stupid to understand the code.
So, is Varchie gonna hook up in the finale and break Reggie’s tender heart, or nah?
Mary: Oh yeah, I think they’ll definitely hook up in the finale, even if it’s not an official thing. I think Reggie will get over it, but he won’t forget. In the comic series (which we are FAR OFF at this point), Reggie and Archie constantly fight over Veronica, so this all makes sense.
Gabriella: HOW IS REGGIE THIS THICK? Really. She legit said ‘that’s what I said’ and looked longingly after Archie as he left… Reggie is either an idiot or doesn’t care? Which doesn’t track with his previous characterization. Also, Veronica should have grown a backbone and just said ‘soz, reg,’ and gone to Archie because we all know they’re getting back together and dragging it out at this point is PAINFUL.
Kelli: I’m going to work through Betty and Jughead’s plots simultaneously, because we get some phone calls between them as they update each other on their cases. I’m glad that they were at least communicating in some way, because otherwise this entire episode would have felt disjointed instead of just the Archie/Veronica/Hiram stuff. I still find it totally unrealistic that Veronica and Archie would have no idea what’s going on with Betty and Jug, but it’s honestly like they’re on a completely different timeline in a completely different universe.
ANYWAY. I digress. I also really liked the phone calls between Betty and Jughead because it felt like a real relationship — two people dealing with big, separate things but doing their best to support each other from afar. They’re one of the few TV couples with a relationship dynamic that is somehow still interesting even when things in their relationship are healthy and happy.
Mary: Right! I’m happy to see them interacting again. They haven’t talked much this season, so the few moments we get between them feel precious. I’m thinking specifically of when they burned down the Jones family trailer.
Gabriella: The phone calls were good but I can’t help but think that if I were running down a hallway in a cult organ farm with a heart in a box I might not answer the phone. Even for my SO.
Kelli: Betty is living at the farm now, and during one of their group circles, Alice and Polly reveal that when Betty was 8 years old and in the hospital with a concussion from a bicycle accident, the doctors discovered that she possesses the SERIAL KILLER GENE. I just looked it up, and apparently this has some basis in real science, but not a lot, which seems about right. What I want to know is whether the show is going to continue to treat it like it’s real, or if the exaggeration is just part of Edgar’s plan.
Despite the newfound knowledge that she’s probably destined to be a serial killer, Betty is still committed to finding out what’s going on behind the scenes at the farm — so committed that she allows Edgar to give her one of his weird ~treatment sessions~ or whatever you want to call them. During the session, Betty blacks out and ends up in a room with none other than Dark Betty™. Dark Betty™ reminds Betty of the past evils they have committed together, like drowning their pet cat and pushing Polly down the stairs. If I were Betty, I would be way more upset about the cat, because that is genuinely disturbing information. Pushing Polly down the stairs, though — who wouldn’t?
Because she’s a smart cookie, Betty figures out that part of Edgar’s treatment is sound hypnosis caused by the clicking pendulum balls on his desk. For her second session, she blocks out the sound with candle wax earplugs, and discovers that she’s not actually talking to Dark Betty™ after all, but POLLY dressed as Dark Betty™. Guys, this is so fucked up, and also brings up so many questions for me. Does this mean that every person at the farm who thinks they’re seeing and talking to a lost family member is actually talking to someone else who might pass as that family member through the haze of shadow and hypnosis? How many of the people at the farm know that this is the case, and how many are oblivious? And most importantly: what the fuck is wrong with Polly??? Obviously she knows what’s going on since she’s actively participating in it, so is she just straight-up evil?
Mary: Yes! If everyone is knowingly participating in this (which I think they are), they’re straight up evil. For sure. I understand the reasoning of the participants—they want to see their loved ones again and don’t really care how that happens. But how could you knowingly trick people?
The serial killer gene stuff is wild, and doesn’t make much sense. Then again, Riverdale thrives on not making much sense.
Gabriella: Yes so this sparked a big confusion for me too — how many people are in ‘cahoots’ with Edgar? If Polly is, is she tricking her own mother, too? Surely you’d have to have enough people of varying body types, genders, ages, etc. to pull this stunt off? It would take a lot of group secret keeping – and what do those who are in cahoots with Edgar get out of it?
Kelli: Meanwhile, Jughead is investigating the GK via the note Betty received at prom. A trail of people leads him back to Orphan Ricky, and JB tells Jughead that Ricky is planning to ascend in Fox Forest. She draws a map to help him find his way there. To me, this is just further evidence that JB is behind some of this, if not all of it.
In the forest, Jughead is assaulted by what appears to be a troupe of boy scouts who are trying to protect “the princess,” and when he escapes into the bunker, he finds the princess herself, which we should have seen coming: it’s Princess Etheline! I’m a little confused about what the fuck is actually going on here, though. Ethel tells Jughead that while Betty saved her from the fake GK at the Sisters, she has since re-joined the real GK in the forest, and now he’s going to kill her for failing “the mission,” which is… killing Jughead? Killing Betty? Who fucking knows.
Anyway, Jughead convinces Ethel to help him defeat GK, and they emerge from the bunker. This whole section of the episode was really unclear — not re: what was happening, but why it was happening. I really couldn’t figure out the objective here. They tell the “Lost Boys” that the mission is over (again: what mission?) and then Ethel suddenly realizes that the youngest boy is missing and tells Jughead that they have to go find him. All of this is basically to get them back in that creepy bus so that the BH can come and chase them. The chase also felt arbitrary; it goes on for what seems like forever, but Jug, Ethel, and child escape pretty easily. They gather the rest of the boys and head to the police station for protection.
Am I crazy? Could you guys make any sense of what was going on here?
Mary: I sadly don’t have much more insight, and found this part pretty confusing as well. I think it’s an interesting idea that Ethel has been living out in the woods with her “lost boys” protecting her, but we know this simply isn’t true. The sex bunker has been used for a variety of things throughout this season, and Ethel hasn’t been there at all! How long as she been in the bunker?! WHY is she in the bunker?
One thing that totally does make sense to me is that all the boy scouts are actually GK devotees—it makes perfect sense considering what happened to Dilton at the beginning of the season!
Gabriella: How is Ethel’s hair in such great shape after living in a bunker? What has she been eating? Where is her mom? What is going on in this town? Maybe Hiram SHOULD buy it.
Kelli: Back at the farm, Betty has been trying to convince the other farmies that Edgar is hypnotizing them, but they don’t seem to care. During a very disturbing cafeteria breakfast, Betty learns that her schoolmates are having “minor procedures” done to transform their emotional pain into physical pain, making it easier to treat. But the giant scar on Kevin’s side is indicative of a much more serious operation, and now Betty has something new to investigate.
When she finds Evelyn hooked up to a dialysis machine, Betty grows suspicious, and Evelyn does not help her own case by being sketchy as fuck about how she was “very ill as a child.” Betty, somehow very familiar with medical procedures, realizes that Evelyn’s machine is feeding her medication that is typically used for new organ transplants, and she starts to put the pieces together. Later, using her famous hairpin lockpicking skills, she breaks into the operation room and finally discovers the truth about the farm: THEY’RE HARVESTING ORGANS.
How did you guys feel about this reveal? I kind of love it. Of all the theories I tried to come up with for what the farm’s motives were, organ farming was not one of them… and yet, it actually (sort of) checks out.
Mary: I LOVED IT. I didn’t see it coming, which was wonderful. Once they mention it, though, it all made sense. Of COURSE the Farm is “farm”-ing organs! OF COURSE! However, I question their methods a LOT. You can’t just put an organ in a jar or on ice indefinitely. That’s not how transplants work, Farm. Also, I’m now wondering—does Edgar have some sort of medical degree? Who is qualified to be doing this work? You have to know how to disconnect and connect organs!
Gabriella: I clocked the organ farm thing as soon as they mentioned real procedures, so I was sort of like ‘okay Betty come on…’ BUT I was very shocked when I did get it. I felt like they really hid that one well and it actually seemed like they thought it out for once instead of just jumping a shark.
And yeah I would have no idea what the hell IV drip Evelyn was on and I doubt the bag reads ‘organ acceptance meds’ or whatever.
Kelli: Betty totes a cooler into Cheryl’s room, and it turns out that an actual disembodied human heart is finally enough to convince her that the farm is not her friend. Knowing that Toni is about to go into surgery, Cheryl snaps out of it pretty quickly, and she runs to rescue Toni while Betty goes to tell Kevin and Fangs the truth.
I really enjoyed watching Cheryl brandishing a scalpel to rescue Toni, and the chase scene that ensues when the two of them escape was pretty fun to watch (though not quite as good as last week’s prom killer chase). Here’s what I don’t understand: when they get to the window to escape, Cheryl essentially tricks Toni into going first and then closes herself in, telling Toni to run. Why did she do this? Is she simply staying back to try to fight off the farmie surgeons so that Toni can escape? Because in that case, I feel like they probably could have closed the window behind them and run fast enough to escape together… but maybe Cheryl just didn’t want to take the chance. Or— is she staying at the farm because she doesn’t want to lose her connection to Jason?
Mary: Yes, I think she was going to distract them and fight them off. It’s also possible that Cheryl thought she might be able to get Betty out, too? Or at least not just dump her behind.
Gabriella: Yeah I agree with Mary, I think she was hoping to hold up the guards long enough for Toni to make her escape. And I have to say I’m really glad Cheryl let Toni escape and not vice versa. Especially after that Game of Thrones Missandei nonsense.
Kelli: Speaking of Jason: back at the sheriff station, Ethel thanks Jughead for saving her and the Lost Boys and tells him that as a reward, she’ll reveal the true identity of the GK. It’s… JASON BLOSSOM. Jughead immediately calls Betty to ask her if that’s even possible, but Betty has her hands full of harvested organs and can’t rly chat, so they agree that the only reasonable solution is for Jughead to dig up Jason’s grave.
Betty doesn’t have as much luck with Kevin and Fangs as she did with Cheryl and Toni. It seems like they’re primed to capture her as soon as she shows up to talk to them. For some reason, she doesn’t show them the harvested heart, but who knows if they would have cared at this point. They take her down, and during the scuffle she gets knocked out. When she wakes up, she’s strapped to an operating table, and Edgar will be her surgeon. He’s wearing comically bloody surgical gear, which always seems bizarre to me. Like, you’re obviously making a lot of money doing this; you can’t afford a couple of extra aprons and some bleach? Have some self-respect, guys.
Anyway, the episode ends with Betty being put under for surgery while across town, Jughead is digging up a truly incredible graveyard set which looks like one of the Haunted House pages in an I Spy book. And guess what? Jason Blossom’s corpse is NOT. IN. ITS. CASKET.
Mary: I hate what’s happened to Kevin over the course of the season. He’s done so many straight up evil things that I don’t see how he can be redeemed. Also, he’s apparently missing an organ now?! Kevin has been used time and time again as a gullible, ready to do bad dude, and I hate that because he’s the only canonically (in the comics) gay character of the Archie comics universe!
Whose HEART did they remove?! That person is dead now, right? It’s easier to steal a kidney and get away with it. Also, the whole operation is what you’d expect from a shady organ harvesting gig. Yeah, it’s kind of dirty and shady, but give them some credit! They just moved buildings! Hehe
How is Jason not in his grave?! Is someone puppeting his dead body around? We SAW him die.
Gabriella: I don’t get why Betty didn’t bring the heart to Kevin and Fangs? That was a seriously rookie mistake and seemed pretty absurd. If she knew she’d have to have a prop to convince Cheryl, why wouldn’t she need that with Kevin and Fangs? Kevin reminds me a bit of Ryan in The Office (US) though not funny or like, purposeful? He just changes episode to episode / season to season to fill whatever plot hole needs filling, or move the characters towards something. He has no character, which is disappointing I agree.
As for the whole Jason Blossom grave digging, I kind of liked how weirdly non-chalant Jughead was about that. It was one moment where the show was self-aware of its absurdity and I dug it (pun intended).
Kelli: So, it’s time for some theories. First of all, are the GK and the Farm related? I feel like they have to be, especially since Cheryl has been seeing Jason at the farm. At this point, I wouldn’t put it past Edgar to be using Jason’s corpse like a marionette.
I don’t know how JB is going to factor in here, but I know she’s going to, because she’s been flying under the radar for like five episodes now and something’s gotta give. I also want to know how the BH factors in, but I’m going to guess that Hal has been hypnotized by Edgar? That’s my current theory.
What are y’alls predictions for the finale? What are you afraid of? I, personally, am worried they’re going to come up with another stupid thing for Varchie to participate in instead of drawing them into the main plot, but I really hope I’m wrong.
Mary: Well, I think this is a classic Riverdale scenario—sloppily tying up all the loose threads in the last episode! All the plots will come together in the messiest way possible. I predict that there will be an epic fight between the GK AND the Black Hood AND the teens! We can’t forget that the BH is still out there running around with a hook hand. I’m afraid that they’ll try to shoehorn more boxing foolishness into the finale instead of focusing on the more interesting Farm/GK plot. Ugh, I’m so tired of boxing.
Gabriella: No. more. Boxing. Please.
The only reason I think GK and the Farm aren’t`related is because the Farm has been going for a while in various cities for years - yet the GK seems to be a uniquely Riverdale problem. But knowing this show they’ll find some way to tie it in. Maybe Edgar took advantage of the whole Jason Blossom thing when he arrived?
And yeah, JB is definitely in on it and yes I think Hal has been hypnotized too - would also explain how he could cut off his hand without being in serious pain all the time? Also, he’d need to be on antibiotics I think, but THIS IS RIVERDALE so hey, maybe the bacteria know better.